Now that Firefox 4 has already been downloaded more than 8 million times, it’s time to look ahead and see what Mozilla has in store for Firefox for the rest of the year.
Mozilla just released Firefox 4, the next generation of its popular Internet browser. The new version is not just significantly faster than Firefox 3, but it also features a new, highly streamlined interface and a number of new tools that should make Firefox 4 even more popular among power users (many of which moved to Google Chrome during Firefox 4’s prolonged development phase).
Firefox 4’s official release data is tomorrow, but the final version of Mozilla’s latest browser is already available on the project’s FTP servers. Just pick the right version and language for your system (Windows, Linux or Mac) and you are ready to go.
Even though some argue that Internet Explorer 9 is about two years late, there is clearly still a lot of interest in Microsoft’s newest browser. Since its launch on February 10, the release candidate of IE9 has been downloaded 2 million times. This number only includes user-initiated downloads, as Microsoft has not pushed automatic updates to current IE9 beta users.
The latest beta version of Firefox 4 introduces lots of bug fixes and other improvements, but most importantly, it introduces Mozilla’s new opt-out mechanism for ad tracking. What this feature does is add a message to the messages your browser send to the web server when it requests pages that lets the server know that users do not want to be tracked.
When it finally ships later this year, Firefox 4 will have gone through at least twelve beta releases since. The first beta was released in July 2010 and the final release is now set for around later this month. Going forward, however, Mozilla’s director of firefox development Mike Beltzner envisions a very different release schedule. Indeed, if it is up to Beltzner, we will see Firefox 4, 5, 6, and 7 later this year as the organization changes the way it defines major versions and ships updates.
Usually, when we talk about plugins that crash our browsers, chances are that we are talking about Flash. Today, however, Mozilla announced that it is blocking the Skype Toolbar from its Firefox browser as it “is one of the top crashers of Mozilla Firefox 3.6.13, and was involved in almost 40,000 crashes of Firefox last week.” The Skype toolbar examines every page you load for phone numbers and then re-renders these as clickable Skype buttons that enable users to initiate Skype calls right from their browser.
Firefox 4 is running behind schedule, but today, Mozilla released the 9th beta version of its popular browser. This new version is mainly focused on improving speed and only features small interface enhancements. Thanks to a plethora of changes under the hood, Firefox now also starts significantly faster and complex animations will be smoother. Mozilla also notes that it has improved the bookmarks and history code, which should make bookmarking faster as well.
Mozilla is slowly marching towards a general release of Firefox 4. Today, the non-profit launched the 8th beta version of its flagship browser. As expected, after 8 betas, there aren’t any major new features in this latest version (though Mozilla promises to add a “do not track” feature before the final release). Instead, Mozilla is now focussing on fit and finish. In today’s new version, the focus is on making it easier to set up Firefox Sync and the new look and feel for the add-ons manager. The new version also offers improved support for WebGL for 3D graphic visualizations on the Web.